A week in film news is not complete without another report of a reboot or remake, and since 80s action properties have been thoroughly harvested, Hollywood seems to be plowing through to the 90s. Moving on from remakes of Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicles (for now), the next action hero with a remake in development (without his involvement) is Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Timecop.
THR reports that Universal is looking to make a re-designed version of Van Damme’s 1994 time-traveling action movie. Directed by Peter Hyams and based on the Dark Horse comic book mini-series, Van Damme played the eponymous time-traveling police officer (in the future of 2004) tasked with stopping criminals who abuse the technology. He runs afoul a corrupt politician (Ron Silver) who might have had something to do with his wife’s death in the past. Mark Shmuger (We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks) and Tom McNulty are set to produce.
Timecop was a modest hit upon release and spawned a short-lived 1997 TV series and a 2003 direct-to-video sequel. While it remains one of Van Damme’s more watchable features from the apex of his popularity, Timecop never had the following of, say, Total Recall or Robocop. Given that science-fiction films have seen an uptick in popularity in the past few years, it’s actually a bit surprising that no one has seriously approached this property, despite a handful of reports from as far back as 2010.
As mentioned, Van Damme is not reported to be involved. The new version will be a “re-imagining” of the concept, and while the project is out to writers, there is as yet no news on potential casting or who might direct.
With Looper having significantly raised the bar for not just science-fiction and sci-fi noir, a genre which the original Timecop arguably fits into (given the grizzled, mullet-ed Van Damme as a grieving widower, but time-travel movies in general, Universal will have its work cut out for it. If, that is, they’re going to try for a unique film by an increasingly-interesting auteur which could easily be considered a modern classic once enough time has passed.
Given the cash-grab smell surrounding this news, should Jean-Claude Van Damme be allowed to reappear in some capacity? He showed some revelatory acting chops in JCVD, but that very meta art-house flick never pushed him back into the public consciousness like he probably thought it might. Given the general, anything-can-happen nature of a time-travel movie, there’s always a way to fit his original character into this, but more likely on the level of a cameo.
Still, even the inherent nostalgia factor (with or without Van Damme) might not be enough to lure in audiences who have had it with the ever-present remake mania. As always, stay tuned for more details as they emerge.